With three “quarterbacks” on the field in the second quarter, the Cleveland Browns pulled a bit of a fast one on an unsuspecting St. Louis Rams defense. Wildcat aficionado Joshua Cribbs took a shotgun snap from Alex Mack, flipped the ball to a motioning Seneca Wallace who would then pitch it to Colt McCoy. McCoy eyed up his primary read in rookie receiver Greg Little. With Little covered, McCoy found a streaking Wallace for a 21-yard gain and raucous applause from the hometown crowd.
Three days later, we find out that the play should not have counted. Take it away, Tony Grossi:
The Browns’ trick play against the St. Louis Rams that netted 21 yards should have been disallowed. It was an illegal play involving two forward passes. […] According to an NFL digest of rules, “An offensive team may make only one forward pass during each play from scrimmage.” The penalty is five yards.
While I’ve never seen a team’s beat writer dig up something like this several days after the fact*, Grossi apparently prompted Shurmur with his take on the play with the coach confirming that the initial exchange between Cribbs and Wallace should have been a handoff. A tad revisionist, it seems as if the discussion around said mishap is to only further the discussions about how inept the current offense is – even the trick plays aren’t executed correctly.
Needless to say, the Browns are not about to petition themselves out of the box score as they spend today as well as the subsequent three days preparing for a home bout against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
(Update: Thanks to comments below, this was not – as assumed – original thought. PFT had the goods earlier this morning, though not cited in the PD report. Imagine that.)
(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)